Sampling of sediment from the fjord floor in front of tidewater glaciers in Glacier Bay, Alaska, has provided information about processes in this restricted glacimarine (Dreimanis 1979) setting. Sediment sampling, in conjunction with oceanographic and glacial dynamics data, has also enabled the discrimination of sediment types and their facies associations. Deposits are strongly controlled by: sea-water characteristics, position and sediment discharge of melt-water streams, iceberg calving, and rate of glacierfront retreat.
Five distinct facies associations have been found to reflect glacier-fjord regimes. The facies associations and ice-fjord conditions responsible for them form the basis for constructing a preliminary model for glacimarine sedimentation by tidewater glaciers. The model can be used to predict (i) rapid retreat of an actively calving ice front, (ii) slow retreat or stabilization of a calving ice front at a channel constriction, (iii) stabilization of a melting (very rarely calving) ice front when the glacier base is near tidewater elevation, and (iv) large outwash delta progradation into a fjord when the ice front retreats onto land. This model can be used to interpret facies associations found in a stratigraphic record.